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Gratitude Vs. Desire: Finding Balance

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Gratitude Vs. Desire: Finding Balance

Ever since one of the Get Out Of Your Own Way students asked me a question that inspired†this post, Iíve been pondering how we can balance feeling grateful for what is, while simultaneously inviting ourselves to tap into our deepest desires.

I asked my friend†Dana Theus what she thought about that question and I loved her answer so much I want to share it here.

Take it away Dana!

Gratitude for what we have and desire for the future are not opposites. They are two states we can feel simultaneously just like we can eat dinner – appreciating sauteed fish – at the same time we think about the yummy oatmeal we’re planning for breakfast.

But this is only true – we can only experience them simultaneously – if we can actually appreciate the fish we’re eating right now. If we can’t, then we’re always hating the present and using our vision of what may feel like an inaccessible future state to make ourselves more unhappy with the present.

The thing to do is to realize that the present is ALL WE ACTUALLY HAVE. If we’re going to be happy or sad, it will be based on the present moment. Desire for the future plays a different role. It gives us hope and is fun to think about, plus it is critically important to help us tap into our purpose and understand what we care about so that we can better direct our energies today and tomorrow towards something that fills us with excitement.


Thus, we can’t actually enjoy it. We can’t hold it and have it. Even when we attach to it, this just makes us more cognizant that it is not real and creates a gap in our lives that isn’t really even there.† Until we learn to be satisfied, content and grateful for what we actually have, we cannot ever be happy in real time and thus our dreams can never come true.

If we’re not happy with our current life and situation, then we need to be intentional about changing it until we are happy with it – but the “comparison stick” isn’t some abstract future desire that isn’t even real; it’s what constitutes our life right now.

Isnít that so true? You rock, Dana!

For those who struggle with this, Dana and I came up with a few tips to help you find your balance.

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the†Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of†Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.† She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.† Lissa blogs at† and also created two online communities -† and† She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


+ add your own
9:03PM PDT on Jul 30, 2011

great info. thanks for sharing. :-)

6:12AM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

Thanks for sharing.

11:14PM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

thanks for the article.

6:52AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

Thanks for article.

6:51AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

Thanks for article.

6:28AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

Excellent article!!! Great food for thought!!! Lissa, thanks for sharing. I will certainly share it with family & friends.

2:16AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

thanks for sharing a very good article

8:47PM PDT on Jun 28, 2011

Needed this. Thank you : )

6:51PM PDT on Jun 28, 2011

Good article, thank you.

2:56PM PDT on Jun 28, 2011

I loved this article...gratitude attitude is what its all about!

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The baby put up a good case, but the bulldog was just not being very open-minded.


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